Dylan Covers Week No 2: Chimes of Freedom - the Byrds
No matter what Dylan may said, he knows that the best covers of his songs were the Byrds', totally hippie, totally West Coast, totally jingly jangly guitars, totally psychedelic, pacifist, with wonderful harmonies underpinned by Roger McGuinn's babyfaced vocals.
From the arresting opening chords, and the fire and brimstone opening line
"Far between sundown's finish and midnight's broken toll
we ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing..."
and then the biblical, new age testament
"....flashing for the warriors, whose strength is not to fight
flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
and for each and every underdog soldier in the night
and we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing..."
and great line after great line
"....electric light still struck like arrows fired but for the ones
condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail for the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale and for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail and we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing...."
finishing triumphantly, triumphantly because they've said it, they've rung the bell in hope.
"....starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended as we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed for the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse and for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe and we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing...."
This is an antiVietnam war song, a celebration of suppressed protest, a surreal vision of arrest, victims, refugees and the end of the world.
Sound familiar? All that's missing is the fake news.